Facebook opens antivirus download shop to broaden security resources

Popular social network Facebook has partnered with security vendors Symantec, McAfee, Microsoft, Sophos, and Trend Micro in a program to simultaneously improve Facebook's security and broaden the availability of the antivirus software from each of the partners.

Since 2008, Facebook has kept a URL blacklist, and any time a Facebook user posts a link to one of the blacklisted URL, Facebook pops up an interstitial warning page before the browser actually connects off to the suspicious destination. Facebook's parters in this effort included McAfee, Google, Web of Trust, and Websense.

With the partnerships announced today, Facebook's URL blacklist system will include the malicious URL databases of all of the security vendors.

"This means that whenever you click a link on our site, you benefit not just from Facebook’s existing protections, but the ongoing vigilance of the world’s leading corporations involved in computer security. At the moment, less than 4% of content shared is spam (compared to nearly 90% of email) and we are looking forward to making even more progress in the future," a blog post from the Facebook Security Team said on Wednesday.

And what do the security companies get out of this? Prime exposure to Facebook's 900 million users, of course!

On Wednesday, Facebook launched its own Antivirus Marketplace, where users can download the various antivirus software packages from Microsoft, McAfee, Trend Micro, Sophos and Symantec under six-month free licenses. These companies will also be able to use the Facebook Security Blog to post their bulletins and information for its more than six million followers.

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